Fo many of you mothers out there making your ‘fussy’ toddler eat can become such an ordeal. But don’t worry.
Most toddlers go through this stage of food eating tantrums and force-feeding them is not the solution. This could, in fact, create long-term unhealthy attitudes about eating.
Toddlers in the age group 1-3 years need only 1,000 – 1,300 calories a day. But even this might seem like a task. However, this maybe because you are trying to make your toddler eat more than she can. It’s always better to aim for a nutritionally-balanced week rather than a balanced day.
Offer your kid small servings of the food. Don’t forget to praise her when she finishes a small portion. However, if she refuses to eat anymore, then take the plate away without passing any negative comments (Most toddlers finish whatever amount that they will eat within half an hour).
You must begin to appreciate her decision to not eat any more. Even though they are small, they know when they have had enough.
Toddlers like dipping their food into sauces. So prepare nutritious ones like melted cheese, tomato or fruit puree, paneer spreads, yogurt raita etc.
Sometimes they just want to drink. In that case offer them more calorie dense drinks, like milk, or yogurt smoothies with fruits, nuts, honey etc.
Don’t keep them away from sweets. Some nutritious sweet dishes that you could try are cream and mashed banana, rice/sabudana/seviyaan kheer, fruit custard, sweet yogurt, homemade sweets with cottage cheese, carrot/moong daal/bottle gourd halwa. However, do avoid giving these in between meals. Stick to them during meal times and don’t use it as a snacking option.
No Force Feeding
You will avoid force feeding if you begin to eat with your kid. Toddlers are sure to try those foods which they see adults around them eating and liking. This will also introduce them to a mixture of foods with different flavours.
Encourage your child to begin eating herself. Cut the food into different shapes to make meal time more fun.
If your child is just turning one then distract her by placing small toys on the table. Let her play as you feed her. For older ones, make them sit on a chair where their feet reach the ground. You will be surprised how much longer they sit while eating.
Often toddlers fuss with their vegetables. Why not take them to the market to choose their own? Also, ask them to help you prepare it in the kitchen too. They actually fuss lesser while eating. Else just mash it all up and give it to the baby as a thick soup.
Give your toddler her own shelf space in the fridge. Keep some of her favourite snacks in there and ask her to choose what she wants when she is hungry.
Chalk out a routine for your toddler, her sleep, play and food timings. Young ones like that. Also, during her play time, make sure that she gets enough exercise so that she has adequate appetite when the meal time arrives.
Lastly, paediatricians often recommend vitamins A and D supplements, especially for fussy eaters.
As an end note, growth charts are mainly to check whether the kids are growing, and developing or not. So, if you have an active kid who is growing well then just sit back and relax.